Police release Pike River footage

Police have released 13 hours of robot video footage taken inside the access tunnel of the Pike River Mine. They say there is more to come but have to sort through a lot of material stored in various formats, some of which may be subject to privacy requirements and suppression.

Police release full footage of robot which entered Pike River Mine on 15 March 2011

Friday, 5 May 2017 – Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement

Police has today released over 13 hours of video it holds which were taken by the Western Australia Water Corporation robot which entered the drift of the Pike River mine on 15 March 2011. Selected extracts from this robot footage has been featured in the media this week.

This was the fourth robot entry into the drift, and it was conducted by the Pike River Coal receivers six days after Police handed over control of the mine.

Excerpts from this video were shown at family meetings in July 2011. Relevant sections of notes from family meetings on 9 March 2011 and 16 March 2011 have also been released today, which show discussion by Pike River Coal representatives of the robot’s entry to the mine, and the outcome.

The release of this video is in response to a number of requests, including Official Information Act requests from the families and media.  Police is currently working through the remaining aspects of these various requests, which involves a large amount of imagery and video stored in different data formats and locations.  Police is also mindful of its privacy obligations regarding individuals who appear on many still images, as well as suppression of some material by the Royal Commission of Inquiry, before we can publicly release the remaining material held. We are working to do this as quickly as we can.

We reiterate that Police has been absolutely committed to transparency with the families of the Pike River miners, and no information has been deliberately withheld by Police.

It has always been our approach from the earliest phases of the operation to show imagery and share information to keep the families appraised of the situation at that point in time. Police met with the families on numerous occasions between November 2010 and September 2011 to do this. Given the very large volume of video which was passed to Police, including many hours of the empty drift, boreholes and static video or indistinct imagery, not all footage was shown to families.

As part of these meetings, all families and support people were invited to meetings on 23 and 24 July 2011 in Greymouth and Christchurch. Approximately 25 direct family members attended.   The purpose of this meeting included showing some video which had already been played at previous meetings, as well as more recent footage including some from the 15 March 2011 robot entry.

Up to eight hours of video footage from multiple sources was shown at each of these two meetings. Specific footage from the robot of 15 March 2011 shown to the families included the two workers wearing breathing apparatus in the air-lock at the entrance to the drift with the robot, the two NZ Army robots which entered the drift in November 2010, and the robot pausing to take gas and temperature readings.

Police has also been working through historic records to determine what information held by Police was made available to the Royal Commission of Inquiry. We can confirm that the entire video from the fourth robot was released by Police to the Royal Commission of Inquiry in August 2011.

VIMEO link to robot footage: https://vimeopro.com/user66181559/pike-river-mine(link is external)

Please note the 13 plus hour video is divided into a number of separate files. A small number of files are not in a consecutive time sequence, however this is exactly as they were supplied to police.  There are some blank spaces and duplicate footage, again this is exactly as supplied to Police.

See also on RNZ:  Police did not mislead Pike River families – Deputy Commissioner

The Deputy Police Commissioner has insisted police did not try to mislead the Pike River victims’ families.

Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement told Checkpoint with John Campbell excerpts from the video were shown at family meetings in 2011, including some footage of two workers wearing breathing apparatus in the air-lock at the entrance to the drift with the robot.

He said they had not tried to mislead the families.

“My view of it is that everyone was trying to do exactly the opposite, [which was] to be open and transparent,” he said.

Mr Clement said he accepted there were views held now that that was not the case.

“But I’ve spoken to the staff [involved], they’re as upset as everybody that they’re now being accused of deceiving the family members.”

Anna Osborne, widow of Milton Osborne who died in the mine, said the families were never shown any excerpts of workers inside the drift.

“We would have remembered seeing that,” she said.

She said police were engaging in damage control by publicly releasing footage taken inside the mine.

“I think because the families had received a leaked version of it and because we were making some of it public, the police and the government were quite embarrassed by it all and in the end they had to act,” Ms Osborne said.

I think it is likely that some family members and others will never be satisfied unless the bodies are retrieved, the exact cause of the disaster is proven and some one, or some people or organisations or companies or politicians, are found to be culpable and are punished.


  1. Brown

     /  May 5, 2017

    When you play anything Campbell please have a bullshit alert so sensible people won’t waste their time clicking a picture that initially looks interesting.

  2. Gezza

     /  May 5, 2017

    We’re now looking at footage of a Mines Rescue worker actually walking back up from further down in the drift, not standing in a container, & we’re learning that he had probably been down the nitrogen-filled part of the mine to the seal, the mine looks structurally sound, & we hear that the original plan was for a staged re-entry, seal it, fill it with nitrogen, go further in, create another seal, nitrogenise that, go further, do the same, until you get to the mine or at least to the electrical junction, with no satisfactory explanation given as to why that is not now possible.

    We also learn some evidence has been suppressed by the Royal Commission. The Assistant Police Commissioner Campbell interviewed wasn’t even in any way associated with the operation & can only repeat that he’s been told the police felt they had been open & cooperative and fully forthcoming with evidence to the families, so therefore he feels the same way. But there were 13 hours of footage & the families have only seen 8 hours.

    This story still has legs.